September 21, 2018 8:00 pm
Updated: September 21, 2018 9:10 pm

Saskatoon teachers work to improve mental health literacy for their students

WATCH ABOVE: Fifty teachers from the Saskatoon area participated in a three-day mental health literacy training program. Rebekah Lesko reports.

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Fifty teachers and counsellors from four school division around Saskatoon finished a three-day mental health literacy training workshop on Friday.

Staff from Saskatoon Public Schools, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, Prairie Spirit School Division and Horizon School Division attended the workshop.

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“Teachers are the front line. They’re the ones that see the kids every day. They notice changes in students,” said Tracy Hazen, a workshop participant and counsellor at Bishop James Mahoney High School.

The program will help identify when a teenager may require mental health support.

“They [the teachers] will learn enough to help separate young people who may be having a mental disorder that needs treatment from kids who are having a bad week and then be able to support the young people in the schools,” said Stan Kutcher, the instructor of the workshop with teenmentalhealth.org.

“One of the things we learned here is that school and just studying and exams are huge stressors for kids. The pressure to perform well on sports teams and band concerts, the pressure of social media and body image,” Bethlehem Catholic High School teacher Amy Pearson said.

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Teachers can use the resource to accompany current curriculum to deliver to the students in classrooms throughout the four school divisions.

“Talking to kids about things about stigma around mental illness, things like time management, ways to deal with common teenage stressors in a really positive way, ways they can find help. I think through our Wellness 10 curriculum it fits in perfectly and it’ll be useful for me,” Pearson explained.

Following the course, participants can deliver the training to their colleagues.

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